It’s a dreary, rainy day here. I am all about lazy, slow Saturdays…but I’m still holding tightly to summer and was hoping to relax poolside all weekend. So for now, I’m embracing my inner couch potato and relaxing inside of the quiet, empty house. As I searched the kitchen for something to fix for lunch, soup seemed appropriate for this rainy day. I picked out a can of clam chowder. I love clam chowder. I haven’t had a bowl of it in a long, long time. As I pulled the steamy, hot bowl out of the microwave, I was suddenly overcome with emotions that I couldn’t quite understand or explain. (I mean, I DO love to eat…but normally do not get giddy over food).
And then it hit me. My grandpa used to make clam chowder all the time. Not just any clam chowder. Owen made the best giant pot of clam chowder I have ever tasted. I miss my grandpa. He was truly one of a kind. Owen Edward Lykins could do just about anything. His signature dish was indeed clam chowder, but he also made the fluffiest scrambled eggs I have ever tasted. I remember sitting in the kitchen with him once while he was making those famous eggs. He told me that the key was cooking them slow on very low heat. He said, “It it doesn’t take you at least 45 minutes to cook eggs, they just won’t be right.” He was always full of wisdom and quirky phrases that we still use in his honor everyday.
When you asked Grandpa a question – any question – to which the obvious answer was “yes” he would retort “Does the Pope wear a dress?” When finishing one of his stories and switching subjects, his go to phrase was always “Anywho…” And oh the stories. He loved to tell his stories. Even if he had told the same one over and over, he would tell it with his quick wit and gusto. My grandma would often roll her eyes and remind him that we had all heard the story, but it did not slow him down. When Grandpa was thinking on something, he would always say, “I’m going to urinate on that.” Isn’t it funny the things we remember from the people who aren’t with us anymore!?
As I ate my canned clam chowder (I’m sure Grandpa was rolling over in his grave) I was overcome with sadness. It hit me that when I ate my grandpa’s clam chowder, I didn’t know that it would be the last bowl of it I would ever eat. As a matter of fact, I can’t even remember when that was. But I certainly didn’t know it would be the last. I would give anything to be sitting in the kitchen watching Grandpa cook and listening to his stories (even if I had already heard them a hundred times before). I miss the way he loved his family. I miss watching him spoil his dog – even carrying her around in his half-buttoned shirt. I miss the way he used duct tape to “fix” anything and everything in his house and garage. On the day of his funeral, the hem of my pants came loose right before it was time to leave for the funeral home. In true Owen fashion, I “hemmed” them with some trusty duct tape. And I know he would have been so proud.
I am thankful that a simple can of soup made me slow down today and remember my grandpa for a few minutes. I am thankful of the reminder to love each other hard and appreciate the people in our lives because here’s the thing…we never know when one of those reminders might be the last.